World T20 is around the corner and the audience would love to see surprise comebacks in the upcoming tournament. Mohammed Amir could be one such surprise package as he has been included in the 26-man squad for a conditioning camp ahead of its tour of New Zealand.
The camp would be held in the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. It would stretch from December 21 to January 6, and it would also serve as a measuring scheme for the players’ fitness and performance leading to the ICC World T20 2016 in March in India.
Having served his five-year ban for getting involved in a spot-fixing, this could be the key moment leading to Amir’s integration to the national side. He has been active in domestic cricket and his performance has been top-class. His latest stint with Chittagong Vikings in the Bangladesh Premier League has been very successful, finishing the tournament by bagging the leading wicket-taker for his franchise.
If Amir is upbeat after his great comeback performances and recent selection in the squad, some other players are not so comfortable in sharing the dressing room with the scandalous cricketer. PCB is working to scrap off any unwelcoming gestures shown by any personnel at the top as some players have already shown disregard towards the fast bowler. Including him with the 26-man squad and trying to mix him up with fellow teammates, PCB’s approach towards Amir’s sensitive situation seems to be seen as a stepping stone one for him to be fully eligible to dawn the national colours once again.
The selectors have not showed any mercy to players who haven’t performed well. They dropped Sohail Tanvir while Harris Sohail could not be considered to be selected as he’s still nursing a knee injury. Rafatullah Mohammad, 39-year old batsman along with Imran khan, the pacer, faced the selectors’ heat. Ruman Raees, an uncapped left-arm seamer has been given a chance to make his mark in the international circuit.
Selector’s backed themselves up on the audience-loves-comebacks theory as Umar Gul has also been a shot. He was dropped after Pakistan’s ODI series defeat this year against Bangladesh and has been having a stop-start career since 2013 due to his fitness and form.
Coming the camp, the main objective of it is to assess the fitness levels of players and then improve hem in their weakest areas. The performance in this camp could influence the annual retainers for PCB next year. Fitness has been given a clear priority by the executive officials while performance and integrity clearance being the other important ones for a player if he wants to represent Pakistan.
According to the 2014 contract list, the physiological screening protocol has been divided into five levels, with a player having to undergo 17 different tests. Each component is marked on a scale of 100. Level 1, also called the fundamental level, has marks ranging from 0 to 20 – a score that is considered unacceptable. The fitness test conducted in May 2014 was considered as a benchmark for the players. Seniors like Afridi and Umar Akmal had then been fined for maintaining a below-par fitness level.
Meanwhile, the players who are engaged in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Super Eight round have been granted permission to play their domestic matches scheduled between December 20 and 23 and asked to join the training camp on or before December 24.
Pool of 26 players: Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Umer Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Bilal Asif, Sohaib Maqsood, Amir Yamin, Wahab Riaz, Anwer Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Umer Gul, Rahat Ali, Junaid Khan, Ruman Raees, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Amir